In the fall of 1942, twenty-four sailor of the Pacific fleet Ilya Kaplunov from the village Zapuska Arkadak district of Saratov region became urgent to develop new military occupation in September 1942, when in full swing was the battle of Stalingrad sailor Kaplunov was sent to sniper school. By the time of graduation, our troops had surrounded the Stalingrad group of Germans, but soon them have moved army group "don" under the command of Erich von Manstein. Started Kotelnikovo operation.
A major role in the offensive, the Germans called the operation "Wintergewitter", was assigned to the 57th Panzer corps of the 4th Panzer army. It consisted of two divisions. One of them was the 6th Panzer division Erhard Routh in the part 159 of tanks: Pz 21.II, 73 Pz.III with long-barreled 50-mm gun, 32Pz.III with short 75-mm gun, 24 Pz.IV with long barrelled 75mm gun and 9 command tanks.
December 13, crossed the Aksay, 6th Panzer division reached the village of upper-Kuma. To meet her was an extended part 235 tank brigade to give it 234 otd. tank regiment, the 20th fighter-antitank artillery brigades, 1378 infantry regiment, 87 infantry division and the 4th mechanized corps. Volsky. The battle for top-Kuma lasted with varying success from 14 to 19 December.
Only 19 December at 14 hours 30 minutes the strengthening of the German group of the 17th Panzer division and the threat of encirclement forced the Soviet troops to retreat to the line of the Myshkova river bottom farm-Kuma. To surrounded at Stalingrad the 6th army of Paulus the Germans had to go only 35 miles.
However, five days late, the Germans have the upper-Kuma allowed to win time to pull the 2nd guards army.
In the army, was the 98th infantry division Colonel Joseph Barinova, 4th infantry regiment where he served as a sniper ordinary chickens.
From the bottom-Kumkuyu 98th division and clashed with Nazi evil.
Sniper Ilya Kaplunov managed to extend the trench, cut a niche for ammunition, mounted on the parapet, a sniper rifle, and awaited the German attack.
It's barely light, over our trenches a German vultures. Diving with chetyrehkilometrovoy height, they dropped bombs on our positions, mixing with the earth anti-tank guns. In the end, our Marines were left without artillery support.
Barely stopped the howl of dive-bombers and bomb breaks, brutalized Germans rushed to the attack. Firing a sniper rifle, Kaplunov others were knocked of Fritz and Hans, leaving the approaching tanks without cover machine gunners, and neighboring cells have led on the tanks the anti-tank fire is our Ivan. However, fascist pig found his position, and opened her concentrated machine-gun fire.
After a couple of seconds the top half of the head of Ivan fell into the trench with the soldiers ' zigalovo cap.
Seeing this, the chickens ran into the trench slain anti-tank, recharged anti-tank gun and three shots knocked out the first tank. The following two shots Kaplunov knocked out the second tank. But to the left a hundred meters, two tanks passed the trenches and continued to fire, Kaplunov launched bronenosca left and well-aimed shots knocked out the third and fourth tanks.
The Nazis from the fifth tank noticed the brave anti-tank at high speed sent the tank directly into the trench. Armor-piercing rounds from Kaplunova was not, anti-tank grenade he throw was not in time. Nazi tank weight on top of the trench. Kaplunova stunned and covered with earth . But when a tank passed the trench, the sailor sat up and threw a grenade in the motor part of the machine. The fifth tank has lighted up, his tower by the force of the explosion was broken.
There was a brief respite. Kaplunov found in a nearby trench, a dozen armor-piercing rounds and several anti-tank grenades.
Degtyarev antitank rifle
By the end of the day from beams crept out four more enemy tanks and moved to the altitude. It all started again. Kaplunov few shots knocked out the next tank. But behind there was a deafening explosion, and a fragment of an enemy shell severed his left leg. Overcoming the inhuman pain, Kaplunov opened fire on the seventh tank, and shot until it caught fire. At the last moment a sailor had thrown a bunch of grenades and stop the car a few steps away from the trench. But then he was wounded in the left arm. The fighter force was depleted.Ilya was bleeding, but it was a Pz.IV a new modification of the Pz.IV Ausf G.
The soldiers who heard about the appearance on the front of the Tigers, often took these tanks for Pz.VI. Therefore, in some sources, this tank called the Tiger. However, the first Tigers in the group of armies "don" appeared only in January that the ICAC does not detract from the value of the feat Kaplunova. Also incorrect is the assertion that the feat Ilya Kaplunov made at the height of 137,2. The memorable fight at the height took place a day earlier.
At the end of the battle Elijah was still alive. One of the residents of the farm lower-Kuma bandaged his wounds, but the blood loss due to traumatic amputation of the hands and feet, proved fatal.
The title of Hero of the Soviet Union guard soldier Kaplunova Ilya Kravchuk posthumously by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of October 26, 1943 for the destruction of 9 enemy tanks in a battle near the Khutor Verhnekamsky and displaying valor and courage. In early 1943, members of the Komsomol Arkadaksky district raised money to build a tank "Ilya Kaplunov". This tank was awarded to the tanker-saratovtsy major V. M. Muravleva who led him from the banks of the Volga to Berlin.
By order of the armies of southern front from may 13, 1943, Ilya M. Kaplunov was ever enrolled in the lists of the 260 guards rifle regiment.
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